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>Living Faith: Life in the Kingdom

Regime Change: A King to Recommend

Until recently, we had little idea how quickly dictators and strong men could be ousted by the sheer strength of people power. Tunisia and Egypt, especially, redefined how change can come to old, entrenched regimes.


I think of another ‘regime change’—one that happened many years ago during the rule of the Roman emperor Tiberius, and, in Judea, under the watch of Herod the tetrarch. The new king was Jesus . . .


But at the moment, I’m eying another tyrant that I suspect is ripe for regime change—you. (I beg your pardon.)


We may as well face it, most of us have been our own worst tyrants. We’ve ruled our little, narcissist kingdoms with absolute confidence in our right to rule (“It’s my life, thank you”), and we act as if our own haphazard impulses of desire are our governing mandate (“If I want it, I deserve it”).


In other words, we've become our own slaves, and self-servitude quickly becomes meaningless, wasted and futile. Our vicious cycles of desire and despair have ultimately made our lives, and the lives of those around us, miserable.


Might there be a greater flag to follow?


I contend that there is. And that's why I ventured to suggest that you need regime change, if you haven't already had it. The new King I would recommend is the very One that made Tiberius and Herod uneasy many years ago—Jesus.


This new King and His kingdom is the message of the Christian gospel. In fact, the word gospel was evidently borrowed from the old Roman announcement of a new emperor. In keeping with that inference, the message of the gospel is much more than a call to give mental assent to a magic formula about Jesus, or an invitation to share in some kind of cheerful, ethical “pie in the sky.”


The message of the gospel is that there is a new King—a crucified King; a servant King; a King who overturns every precedent of earthly law and order, authority and submission, redefines greatness as smallness, and turns our conventions on their head. He is a King who seeks out the poor, the brokenhearted, the lame, the blind, and determines to give them His wealth, His wholeness, His healing and His sight.


He is the true King of the ages. There is nothing Machiavellian in Him, no trace of scheming politics, and no shred of falseness. His kingdom is restorative; His law is liberating, and His judgment is joyous. In His kingdom, love dominates, and beauty blossoms. Meaning matters and wisdom triumphs.


Wherever hearts surrender themselves to His Kingship, and acknowledge that His wisdom and His truth make Him worthy to reign, there His kingdom exists.


Of course, in His kingdom, there is no place for petty attempts at greatness and self-determination. If you are to enter the kingdom of Christ, you must put aside all your “king’s purple” rags, your cardboard crowns, and your broomstick scepters and acknowledge Jesus as the exclusive King of your life.


Like Pilate and Herod, the arrival of a new King will make you uneasy too, if you are used to being “in control.” Meeting Him at the gate of your heart with the white flag of surrender is one of the most excruciating decisions you could make. You will never be in charge of your little realm again, because “ye are not your own.”


But if you understand in your heart that your petty kingdom is in absolute disrepair, and that you need someone outside of yourself to liberate yourself from your own tyranny, and to undo the damage you have done, then you are not far from His kingdom.


Why would you wait to abdicate?


—Arlin Weaver


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